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April 3, 2021

The Humanity of Christ


As Jesus approached the day of His crucifixion, the human part of Him felt a deep emotional struggle. We sometimes forget Jesus was human - as well as God - and had very real emotions. He experienced the pain of grief, sorrow and rejection; He knew the pleasure of joy, peace, hope and love. As our representative and substitute, Christ functioned as a true human - minus the sin nature. He did not rely on his deity to face life’s situations.


Jesus, therefore, did not simply switch into his God nature in order to endure the ordeal of the Cross and the events leading up to it. He began making His final journey to Jerusalem - and the Cross - in Luke 9:51: “When the days were approaching for His ascension, He was determined to go to Jerusalem.”


The emotional strain of knowing what was coming became challenging to Christ. In Luke 12:50 He said, “I have a baptism to undergo. How distressed I am till it is accomplished.” This was still several weeks before the Cross, yet the emotional strain was already wearing on Him. The word “distressed” here is the same Greek word for a prisoner, someone held fast by something they cannot get out of; it means to be in a mental place of anguish.


Luke, whose gospel emphasizes Christ’s humanness more than any of the others, reminds us 10 more times - some of them are quotes from Christ Himself - that He was on His way to Jerusalem. It was never far from His thinking. His emotions must have been raw as He thought of the Old Testament prophecies describing His coming ordeal. When He rounded the last curve, crested the last hill, and finally saw Jerusalem, He began weeping uncontrollably (Luke 19:41). Wuest’s literal translation of the Greek New Testament says “And as He came near, having caught sight of the city, He burst into tears, weeping audibly over it...”


Christ’s request to the Father while agonizing in Gethsemane - “Let this cup pass from Me” - was very genuine. In describing this time in the garden the Greek text literally says Christ, in His anguish, fell repeatedly to the ground. The words describing His trauma mean:


• to be in a state of great anxiety, even disoriented

• exceedingly sorrowful

• overwhelmed with sadness, encompassed by grief

Wuest’s translation says Christ was “thoroughly alarmed and distressed...even to the point of death.” This is what caused his capillaries to burst, a condition known as hematidrosis, causing drops of blood to literally drip from his pores onto the ground. I believe our redemption actually began there in the garden, when the first drops of blood begin to fall. I believe it was there that he bore our griefs and sorrows (Isaiah 53:4).


His disciples observed His struggle, even as they wrestled to remain awake with Him in prayer. They had no idea they were about to enter a whirlwind of events out of their control, observing the arrest, trial, beating, abuse, and crucifixion of the One they had set their hopes on. Their next few hours would be tormenting and traumatic.


They watched Jesus laid in a tomb, no doubt very confused, their minds spinning through the events of the last two days, trying to make some sense of all of it. They were likely going back over the things He said to them—over and over again.


The disciples definitely did not think Jesus was going to die. It is also clear they did not fully understand He would be resurrected from the dead on the third day, though He had told them. They didn’t know what to think. Their troubled souls had no idea what God was doing.


There are times in all of our lives where we find ourselves in a similar place. Life seems good, or at least normal. We trust the Lord and enjoy our walk with Him, our time with family and friends. Then, difficult changes occur.


We have just lived through an entire year in which many unpleasant changes came upon us suddenly. We were forced into isolation for a season. Then, other transitions began. Some lost loved ones, others experienced job losses or forced career changes. Some had to start new businesses, or even move to other locales to find work. The way we educate our children was altered and entire families had to adjust. The church had to find new ways to worship, minister to one another, and evangelize. Then, our government changed.


When circumstances change at this level, we must run to God, not away from Him. He knows what is going on, what is on the horizon. He is our peace, our hope, and He will give us a victorious future. On the days between the Cross and the Resurrection, the earth reeled from satan’s activities against Christ, culminating in His crucifixion. But a wonderful surprise was coming! Victory was on the horizon, though no one knew this yet. God was working behind the scenes, vanquishing the enemy. His plan was taking shape and would soon be revealed.


Don’t be anxious, church. Don’t let fear, confusion, or anger rooted in the chaos of our times overtake you. Spend time with your Father. Sit, quiet your soul, and wait upon Him. He will speak, comfort you, and ready you for what He has planned. David, the Psalmist, when in exile from his homeland and living in a dark cave, said, “I certainly believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord,” (Psalm 27:13-14 NASB).


Pray with me:


Lord, we will seek You and we will find You. You have made promises to us and You will do what You have said. Hope is rising in us, giving way to faith. We WILL be stronger when this season ends!


We are listening for Your instructions. You have planned for the success of the church. You will make us victorious like You! You have planned for harvest and have done so well. A great outpouring of Your glory is coming with signs and wonders poured out. Your kingdom power is going to hit this earth like a powerful tsunami, and You want us ready. I WILL be ready!


Let Your suddenlies manifest, Lord! Creative miracles, be! Radical salvations, happen! Sudden resources, flood in! Let Your power and glory be seen in and through us, Lord! Break all the pain, fear, and anxiety of the last season off of Your people. Let all the effects of it be washed away in the magnificence of Your presence. We exalt Your holy name, Jesus. Amen.


Our decree:


We declare hope is rising, making us stronger!